Literally. Last night saw the first of the battle rounds as the singers were paired up and had to fight it out 1-on-1 to stay in the competition.
I loved Adam Levine’s description of the battle rounds: “singing in harmony and secretly trying to destroy each other.” That’s exactly what last night’s show was about. The victors of each duel will progress on to the live shows.
So here’s how last night’s battle rounds went:
Tony Lucca vs. Chris Cauley
These two guys from Adam’s team went head-to-head on U2’s A Beautiful Day.
After some expert coaching from Alanis Morisette to smooth out some of Adam’s nervous kinks and from R&B crooner Robin Thicke to aid Chris in selling the song, we got to the duel.
Both singers brought their A game to the duelling ring, splitting the judges over who should stay. Forced to make a decision on the spot, Adam decided that Tony’s stage presence and equally powerful voice won out, so he got a live show spot on the Maroon 5 singer’s team. Goodbye Chris.
Adley Stump vs. RaeLynn
Blake Shelton chose Adley Stump and Raelynn to fight it out together on Tom Petty’s Free Fallin. Poor RaeLynn was more than a little nervous about being pit against powerhouse vocalist Adley. But Blake had his wife Miranda Lambert help her ontrol her nerves. Adley was mentored by Kelly Clarkson!
And then I don’t know what happened. RaeLynn’s nerves still got the better of her and she was pitchy. On the other hand, Adley almost drowned out RaeLynn’s unique twang. She looked right at home on stage.
So Blake chose the other girl: RaeLynn. Was he playing favorites because she was mentored by his wife? I don’t know but something weird happened out there last night.
Chris Mann vs. Monique Benabou
Judge Christina Aguilera put opera singer Chris Mann up against Moroccan beauty Monique Benabou for her first battle, singing Celine Dion’s power ballad The Power of Love.
Classically trained Chris had the upper hand over newcomer Monique throughout. He would probably have done that even without Lionel Ritchie’s help. Still it was nice to see the old guy again. Monique was mentored by folk singer Jewel.
For the duel, I was feeling the vibe between these two. Monique held her own, but I think Cee Lo was right when he called Chris’ voice “one of the best in the competition. Christina agreed. Goodbye, Monique.
Cheesa vs. Angie Johnson
Cee Lo picked Cheesa and Angie Johnson to duel over Total Eclipse of the Heart, but their catfight started in rehearsals, arguing over key changes.
Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, was brought in help Cheesa push her own vocal boundaries. Ne-Yo helped out Angie, and the poor girl certainly gave it her all, but her controlled and subtle performance was no match for the powerful Cheesa, who belted it out to secure her spot in the live rounds.
So we reached the second round of battles.
Jordis Unga vs. Brian Fuente
Jordis Unga and Brian Fuente were up next for Team Blake. They tackled The Voice mentor Alanis Morisette’s Ironic, which as we all know is usually a girls’ song. Brian wasn’t happy about that. The whole performance from both of them was pitchy and even their enthusiasm didn’t make up for that. Did Brian foretell his own doom as he was dumped by mentor Blake.
The show definitely saved the best until last with the final duet.
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell
Christina pitted her two strong male vocalists together and I didn’t want either to leave. They sang Alicia Keys’ If I Got Ain’t You.
In rehearsal mentor Lionel Richie advised Jesse to take it down a notch, while Jewel and Christina told Anthony to own his underdog status.
The performance was stunning and almost made Christina (and me) cry. Seriously, guys: this is how it should be done. The audience went nuts and I had no idea how Christina could choose between them but eventually Jesse won out.
The battle rounds continue next week, and if this first battle round show was anything to judge by, I can’t wait!
Watch The Voice battle round 2 on Monday, March 12, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.